Engineers working
Engineers working

Infrastructure

Underground resilience for Finland’s electricity network

The Elenia project.

Sector Infrastructure
Sub-sector Utilities
Invested 2018
Ownership 45%

Opportunity

Elenia owns and operates Finland’s second largest electricity network1 – serving approximately 430,000 customers across more than 100 municipalities.

Leveraging its long-term investment approach and experience in managing major capital expenditure programmes, Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) is supporting Elenia as it invests to protect its network against extreme weather events.

Finland’s temperature is rising faster than the global average2. In recent years, the country’s changing climate has combined with more frequent and severe weather events to cause serious damage to electricity distribution networks.

On 26 December 2011, Cyclone Tapani hit Finland and reached gust speeds of up to 31.5 metres per second3. The storm caused some of the worst damage in over 15 years – impacting overhead power lines and causing extensive power outages during the holiday period.

The episode drew attention to the growing impact of storms, snow and tree fall on the resilience of Finland’s electricity network. In response, new regulations were introduced requiring network operators to exceed certain availability targets by 2028.


Approach

A long term perspective

Since 2017, MIRA has supported Elenia in its goal to bury a further ~25,000km of its network over the next decade.

Leveraging more than 15 years of experience managing electricity, gas, and water utilities across Europe, MIRA is actively supporting Elenia’s management team as they plan and implement this major capital expenditure programme.

The ‘undergrounding’ of the network is expected to be the most effective way to protect it from extreme weather events – minimising the risk of disruption for Elenia’s more than 430,000 customers.

To ensure construction is completed safely, MIRA and its co-investors are also helping to promote best practice health and safety practices amongst Elenia’s employees and contractors.

In 2018, Elenia set new safety targets and introduced rewards within its safety incident reporting system to incentivise staff and contractors to report incidents. Elenia also produced a health and safety manifesto with which it now requires all contractors to comply with.

Outcome

"Resilience against changing climatic conditions is critical for essential infrastructure providers like Elenia. We’re looking forward to partnering with Elenia over the next decade to modernise its network and provide a more secure electricity supply for Finland."

Mark Braithwaite, Senior Managing Director

~72,000km

of high voltage power lines

430,000+

customers

Improving resilience

through long-term investment

Focused on health safety

of employees and contractors

All information current as at 31 March 2019, unless otherwise stated.

1. By number of customers
2. Trends in the average temperature in Finland, 1847-2013, University of Eastern Finland and the Finnish Meteorological Institute
3. Finnish Meteorological Institute